Opening in October, a Pokémon Centre finally made its way to London after years of fan demand. The catch: it’s only a pop-up shop and will be closing on 15 November. Unsurprisingly, fans flocked from not just London, but all over the UK, Europe and beyond. I was one of those fans, and I managed to visit on 2 November.
The Pokémon Centre was located in Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush. We arrived at half past six, and with the help of a very friendly staff member, were able to find our way to the queue with ease. Thankfully, it was indoors.
As all the rumours suggested, the queue was long; eight hours long, to be precise. People had been camping since midnight to get their spot in the queue, and it showed – we were somewhere in the five-hundredths or so in the queue. Whenever the wait got tedious, a jolly Pikachu would stroll along the line to lift everyone’s spirits – it was incredible. A wild Eevee appeared about four hours into the wait, although it stayed at the front of the queue.
It was a little on the small side, as I expected to see most of the original one hundred and fifty one Pokémon on display.
We got into the store at around quarter past two but, much to my dismay, the adorable bowler hat Pikachu had sold out by that time. We’d heard the news through Twitter just minutes before we got to the front of the queue.
The interior was mesmerising, with music from the games and vibrant shelves full of merchandise. It was a little on the small side, as I expected to see most of the original one hundred and fifty one Pokémon on display. Unfortunately, there were only around eight, and they weren’t incredibly popular ones either. The Wailord I was eagerly anticipating was nowhere to be seen, but there was just enough merchandise on offer for me to find something else I liked.
I had the biggest grin on my face, although the 10-minute limit cut my final battle short just as we both unleashed our Pokémon.
After my spending spree, I went upstairs to experience the demo of Sword and Shield and was drawn to the lovely artwork surrounding the room whilst I waited to play. As I strolled through the gym puzzle that was featured in the demo, I had the biggest grin on my face, although the 10-minute limit cut my final battle short just as we both unleashed our Pokémon.
Overall, despite the excruciating wait, I had a blast once I got into the Pokémon Centre. The merchandise was really good quality and the Sword and Shield demo is a great way to build hype before its 15 November release. This is something we’ve never been able to experience before in the UK, though I would advise people to get there as early as they can, and not to go to London solely for this experience as the city has plenty more to offer.
Last modified: 8th November 2019